In this gouache, derived from a pencil drawing in the Spa, Dinant, and Namur sketchbook (Tate D28104; Turner Bequest CCLXXXVII 33), Turner depicts the ruins of the medieval castle of Franchimont, the ancient residence of the marquises of that name, located in the province of Liège, Belgium. Shrouded in an ethereal haze, the castle, as William Chambers writes, ‘occupies the summit of a steep conical mount’ and ‘at its base crouches an antiquated hamlet and church, bearing all the appearance of having declined in fortunes with the feudal stronghold overhead’.1
Turner produced four other gouaches of Franchimont Castle (Tate D20266, D20269, D20280, D20289; Turner Bequest CCXXII G, CCXXII J, CCXXII U, CCXXIII D), the present work being the most dynamically coloured of this group. The drawing is comprised of a varied spectrum of blue, violet, red, green, ochre, and yellow wash contrasted with more opaque, textured applications of gouache. Crisp pen and black and red ink line is used to delineate some of the vegetation in the foreground and in the hills leading up to Franchimont.
William Chambers, A Tour in Switzerland in 1841, London 1842, p.8.
Inscribed in pencil ‘CCLIX 167’ at bottom centre towards right.